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Submitted by Virginia Watts on Sun, 08/28/2016 - 13:54



I'm sitting at the Farmers Market enjoying a tamale and a latte. The air is warm, but not too warm. In fact it is beginning to feel a tiny bit like fall. There are a few yellow leaves on the liquidambar (or redgum) trees. Since those are usually the first to turn, it may be some time before there is evidence elsewhere. I don't count the Halloween decorations already appearing at Michael's.

I do count the planting of the corn maze near our local vegetable stand. That has to be done in August or there won't be corn that's tall enough by the time they want to start hayrides.

Summer weather lasts here in Southern California long into October, but we still notice subtle changes in evening and morning light. And no matter how warm the weather stays, we do get some spectacular leaf colors. Yes, truly, We do. 

What I feel whenever the seasons change is a slight shift in my awareness. As we move from summer to fall there is a softening and a willingness to let go. There is an eagerness to experience the holidays, apart from the buying and selling. I look forward to family and friend gatherings.

Carving pumpkins brings us together for chili and cornbread, wine and hot cider, even if it is 90 degrees outside.

But what I notice this year is that there is an internal appreciation for change. I am not always comfortable with change, but this year I am greeting new possibilities with a more open spirit of adventure. I am letting the aspect of my internal camera's eye broaden to include things that might have been outside the picture before. 

Aging is a complicated process. I have vacillated back and forth between narrowing my activities and expanding them. That exercise in and of itself has proven to be useful. I can sort out what is possible, and that includes what I most enjoy as part of the sorting. 

So if I feel like sitting and embroidering for awhile because my fingers long to create something, that is good. And if I feel like going out for a walk in the park and having lunch with a friend, that also feeds my soul and is good. 

If  I want to spend time writing or just thinking about what I might write, that's a good thing. If I want to iron all day and listen to jazz, that's a good thing. 

If I want to take on yoga instruction, which is a new and exciting thing for me right now, then that is a good thing. And if I want to spend time meditating, an old discipline that has been neglected, that is a good thing.

Too often, in retirement, I have thought of my life as diminishing rather than expanding. As I have taken on new projects, new vistas appear. New friends appear. Old relationships are revived. I find I have skills I haven't used before.

This has never been clearer to me than right now as we are moving out of one season and into the next. Even though it is the beginning of the end of the year, it feels like a perfectly wonderful new beginning to me.